Joe Girardi's Most Puzzling Managerial Decisions of 2012
It isn't easy being a manager, but it is easy for a writer to criticize a manager over mistakes he makes in the heat of whatever moment he's in.
So let's get this show on the road.
Playing It by the Numbers with CC Sabathia
Well it's obvious really.
If CC Sabathia is on the mound and in a bit of a jam, it makes perfect sense to walk a light-hitting infielder in favor of a former 40 home run hitter with far more power in Carlos Pena. The free pass also loaded the bases with two outs.
That's Joe. When in doubt, playing it by the book instead of trusting his best pitcher. It was the first inning of the first game of the 2012 season and the perfect opportunity to make a difference in a game using nothing but cunning managerial abilities.
Oh yeah, Pena promptly smacked a grand slam over the right field wall that put the Rays up by four.
The Yanks would go on to lose the game thanks to that and Mariano Rivera's blown save, 7-6.
Derek Jeter's Early Half Day off
At the fragile age of 37, Jeter needs all the rest he can get during the season. You can never be too careful with such an old man. Besides, it's not like The Captain is always in phenomenal shape, far better than you're average aging player.
In fact, in his career, Jeter has played in 131 games or more in every season of his career but one. And that season he still managed to appear in 119. Injuries have very little history during Jeter's tenure in pinstripes and there were no signs of it now.
I do understand rest, but one game into the season and Jeter needs a half day off as the team's DH?
Not to mention it left the unsure-handed Eduardo Nunez in the field who, as sure as the sun rises, will make at least one error in almost every game he's in.
True to form, Nunez would make a crucial error that ended up hurting his team and the Bombers were beaten by the Rays once again in a series that culminated in a sweep for Tampa Bay.
The Bombers themselves were still undefeated until that point while it was their manager who was 0-2.
Keeping Russell Martin's Bat in the Lineup
When a team needs to rest it's catcher for a game or two, it's normally wise not to leave the backstop in as the DH. That's because if the need arises to have to pull the back up catcher for any reason, a team doesn't have to lose the DH to do so.
But, of course, that very scenario happened for the Bombers' skipper on May 1.
After taking reserve backstop Chris Stewart out of the game in favor of a pinch hitter, Martin was inserted in his place behind the plate and New York lost their DH for the rest of the game.
It's a good thing Martin still got in the lineup to hit, he went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. On the season, Martin is hitting an abysmal .211.
I think it's safe to say the big bad Yankees offense could have done without their starting catcher even stepping on the field at all.
Making David Robertson Closer
It was panic city in the Bronx when Mo went down to a season-ending — and potentially career-ending — injury that left a normally secure position very much in doubt.
But Rivera regained his composure after some heartbreaking moments following the injury and announced he would be back for the 2013 season no matter what it took, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.
Mariano: "I am coming back. Write it down in big letters. ... I'm not going out like this."— Mark Feinsand (@BloggingBombers) May 4, 2012
So there was to be no crowned closer for the future, only a temporary replacement. D-Rob was the overwhelming favorite to take the job when the day came, but the day didn't come.
Instead of using an experienced closer whose best season save 45 saves, Girardi decided to burden his young right-hander with the task of replacing Rivera right away.
Robertson would be successful in his first attempt at a save, but had to get out of a bases loaded jam to do so. The next day, Robertson wasn't so lucky and blew a save in his second attempt.
Since then, Robertson has been on the shelf himself and Rafael Soriano is now the Bombers full-time closer as verified by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.
I guess these things just have a way of working themselves out no matter what a manager does.
Teaching Mark Teixeira a Lesson
Teixeira's struggles are no secret to anyone in the Yankees Universe, especially his manager. Girardi had clearly grown tired of waiting for his first baseman to hit, so he moved Tex down in the order to the No. 7 hole.
It was rare territory for the former Gold Glove winner as Teixeira had never seen that spot in the order during his time in New York. In two games in his new place in the lineup, Teixeira went 2-for-7 with two strikeouts and not a single RBI.
Tex was moved right back to the 3-4-5 area in the lineup after his two lackluster, lesson-learning games as the No. 7 hitter.
Talk about tough love.
Since Girardi's puzzling decision, Tex has eight homers and 24 RBI as he continues to turn his season around.
However, it's unlikely the switch has anything to do with Tex's turnaround. His average still isn't anything special sitting at .252, so it looks like the normal Teixeira who will be around the 40 homer mark and hitting just off the interstate.